The men’s soccer team’s season came to an end Friday in the Atlantic Ten Conference semifinals.
The Owls lost to the Dayton Flyers, 2-1, in overtime at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. The Cherry and White finished the season with a 10-5-4 overall record and 6-1-2 in A-10 play.
The Owls sent the game into overtime in the 71st minute on a shot by senior defender James Suevo, who connected with the back of the net and tied the game with his third goal of the season. Suevo’s goal was set up by junior forward J.T. Noone, who tallied his 13th assist on the season, increasing his school record.
In the overtime period, the Owls came out with intensity, as junior midfielder Francois Sagna recorded the first and final shot of the period for the Owls.
“We had a great opportunity in overtime to win it,” coach David MacWilliams said. However, the “shot was directly at the keeper. If he hits it left or right, we probably win the game.”
A Dayton corner kick led to an early scoring opportunity, as a header was stopped by the Owls’ goalie. However, later, on the following corner, Dayton’s Zach Weiss would find Florian DeCamps for the game-winning goal and his second of the day.
“I’m happy with the efforts but not happy with the end result,” MacWilliams said. “We wanted to and believed we could make the NCAA Tournament this year. It was a great accomplishment, but we tried to set the bar and standards higher.”
The Owls did this despite missing some starters.
Junior midfielder Matt Chevrollier and sophomore defenseman Brant Hovington were the starters who didn’t play in the contest, as Chevrollier was serving a one-game suspension and Hovington was out with an injury.
“I don’t think we played as well [as we could have],” MacWilliams said. “I think it was tough. We were missing two starters.”
Temple then lost a third player just seven minutes into the game. Sophomore defenseman Chas Chupein went down with a broken leg. Chupein was by the sideline when he was hit from behind.
MacWilliams called the play dirty and believed the play “should have been a red card, but [the referee] only gave a yellow card.”
The Owls, despite missing those aforementioned starters, still had a competitive first half, as they matched the Flyers in shots with eight. However, for Dayton, one of those shots went past Owls goalkeeper Bret Mollon.
“We knew they were a very big team,” MacWilliams said. “We knew we couldn’t give up a lot of restarts or corner kicks. It would be an issue for us.”
On a corner kick in the 24th minute, the Flyers’ Simeon Zapryanov passed toward the net, and DeCamps headed his eighth goal of the season to put Dayton ahead 1-0.
Even though the Cherry and White lost in the playoffs, the team had one of its best seasons in several years.
MacWilliams said he was pleased with how the season went. One of the reasons he believed the team did well this year was because it was able to find the back of the net twice as much as the previous year.
The Owls finished second in the A-10, an accomplishment that had not been done since 1990. To go along with the second-place finish, Temple posted its most wins since 2004, with 10.
“We are motivated for next year,” MacWilliams said. “We want to take it even further than we did this past year.”
Nick Hollenstein can be reached at email@example.com.